Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Bubbles and Caring and Kaprizov


Until this morning, I didn’t really have any compete when it came to this NHL restart.  It felt too contrived, too forced, too much favoritism of the big markets.  This Wild team isn’t a Cup contender, and blah blah blah.

But last night I recorded a podcast episode with Kevin Gorg that I think sort of lit my lamp, and this morning I listened to Russo’s podcast with Ryan Carter and officially found myself interested.  Which is not to say I suddenly think it’s NOT contrived/forced/too much favoritism of the big markets.  Just that, okay so it’s not perfect.  But it is intriguing at sort of a scientific/sociological level.  Like pretty much everyone’s healthy and rested across all 24 teams.  When does that ever happen at the start of the playoffs?  But how does the layoff impact that?  How will older players fare as compared to younger players?  What impact will the bubble have on performance?  Will the bubble be effective at keeping the virus at bay?  Yeah, it’s definitely interesting, even if it isn’t a pure, legit Cup chase as compared to full seasons.

In my discussion with Kevin last night one of the armchair quarterback theories I developed was that the lack of a live crowd may make it harder for a team to come back in a game - if doing so starts with an action or a series of actions that, in the aggregate, “turn the tide”.  That kind of thing is also interesting.  So here I am, interested.

Wild-wise, the goalie situation is definitely interesting.  Duby giving up three in his two periods in the first scrimmy the other day is...yikes.  And Russo reporting that Zuccarello was still doing the same “lost in the desert—> turnover” routine that he employed the whole season up to the pause is disheartening.

These best of five qualifying series should be fun, notwithstanding the late starts for the Wild games.


The NHL’s absurd, arbitrary, unilateral decision to change the rule to disallow players like Kaprizov to play in this contrived tournament is just so much bullshit.  And the PA’s decision to allow the league to do it in exchange for the escrow cap and the Olympics also sucks, but at least the players got something.  Whether the league initially did it intending to use it to horse trade with the PA, or it just turned out to be a convenient augur, I frankly don’t care.  On the other hand, if the Wild loses to the Canucks and then wins the #1 overall pick in the entry draft, that will certainly take the sting off it.  Which is not to suggest that they would definitely beat Vancouver with Kaprizov.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

This Thing Still On?


So yeah it’s been four years since the last post, so what?  And this is a weird time to rekindle a blog about the Wild because this is easily the lowest my compete level about this team has been since it was born.

But I have things I want to say.  And there’s some history here at HTP.  So this is where I say them.

Here’s the reset.  This is a fan blog.  I’m not an insider, I’m not a beat writer, I’m not Mike Russo.  Blogging about the Wild had gotten to the point for me where I felt like a poseur because I couldn’t offer any new or additional insight into the team than the pros can and do on a daily basis.  The only space I feel like I can do this from is pure fan opinion.  It’s emotional, based on empirical observations.  It’s not based on something a player or coach said to me when I interviewed them because I don’t interview players or coaches.  I read what the people who do interview players and coaches write, watch games with my own eyes, and react to all that.  I’m not looking to inform anyone of something concrete, or break any news.  I’m looking to discuss what’s going on with the team at a fan level.  That’s it.

So Where Are We With These Guys?

At this point it’s clear this team is not going to tank its way to a high draft pick in the forthcoming entry draft.  They’re what they have always been: just too good to be bad, but not good enough to be actually good.  They’re no contender, and frankly the Blues’ run last year is a bad thing for the Wild if it lulled someone like Leipold into a false sense of “just get in and anything can happen” security.

But here they sit, one point out of a wild card spot, with games in hand on two of the three teams between them and that 2nd wild card spot.  So, okay let’s sand table this.

They Need To Go On A Run

This is self-evident, because what team couldn’t benefit from going on a run.  But ripping off six-straight would be far more efficient as far as making up that ground on a playoff spot than more 7-3-1 would.  So, can they?  Well they have to beat Nashville, at home, with the Preds on the second of a B2B.  Have to.  In regulation, ideally.  Then they go out to California to face three bad teams.  Then a rest before three tough games (Vegas, Philly and Nashville B2B).  After that it’s a home and home (though not B2B) with the bad Blackhawks, the second of which is the first game in a tough road B2B, with the Jets on the back side of it.

Focusing on the short term, they have to beat Nashville, but then they equally have to take three of three in Cali.  I don’t see them beating each of Vegas, Philly and Nashville after that.  So the question is whether or not a four-game streak would get them into playoff position.  It better, because the final two weeks of the season are brutal.  Home Colorado, home Jersey, home Buffalo.  Then they finish with four-straight on the road: St. Louis, Islanders, Washington, Nashville. Maybe Jersey and Buffalo can be projected as wins?  And do you want to face Nashville - in Nashville - for game 82 with that wild card spot on the line?

Here’s how I see it working out:

Nashville W
@ San Jose W
@ Los Angeles W
@ Anaheim (B2B) W
Vegas L
Philly L
Nashville (B2B) L
Chicago W
@ Chicago L
@ Winnipeg (B2B) L
Colorado L
Jersey W
Buffalo W
@ St. Louis L
@ Islanders L
@ Washington L
@ Nashville L

7 wins.  14 points.  85 on the season.  Not enough.  But, to the earlier point, *just* enough to finish about where they are now in league standings, which is to say like 10th.  Maybe 9th.  Brutal.

As for tonight’s game against Nashville, I know Nashville will be fired up because they were embarrassed last night against Edmonton.  And the flight from Nashville to MSP isn’t the longest, so unless they had some delay they probably got a reasonable night’s sleep for a B2B with travel.  But we’re working off the premise that the Wild needs to win this game.  Must have it.  So, I’m going with the Wild.  My site is showing me Wild -1.5, +180, with an o/u of 6. Edmonton’s also on the 2nd of a B2B (in Dallas, who like the Wild is rested).  I’m seeing Dallas -1.5, +165.  I might parlay those two.

Monday, July 11, 2016

THN: Hired Guns


An interesting article from The Hockey News on the plight of the Korean hockey program and its new non-Korean friends.

When it first came out that Korea would be granted a slot in the men's hockey tournament for the Olympics I tried to get in contact to someone known to be associated with the team via email.

My pitch was simple:

I'm from Minnesota.  I'm a goalie.  Sure, I'd be a 44-year old rookie in 2018, but you're Korea.  How many goalies do you really have?

Now, I didn't hear back from anyone, but that means I still have a chance, right?

Adoption, Hockey, and the 2018 Winter Olympics


I was born in Seoul, Korea in 1975.  According to the birth certificate, upon entering the world I was immediately brought to an orphanage.  My parents, a nice midwestern couple from Minnesota, adopted me and I was delivered into their arms when I was six months old.  I grew up in Minnesota, and have lived in the United States since then.  When my eldest daughter was born, in 2004, she was the first blood relative I had ever met.  That occasion also marked the first time in my life that I ever felt any interest in even seeing the land of my birth.  My wife and I plan to make that dream a reality when we travel to Korea with our two kids, around the 2018 Winter Olympics.

You know, when you distill a life down to the main points, it doesn't seem like much.  But that's okay.  I'm 42.  I have a wife, two kids, three dogs, one fish, a house, a job and a car payment.  I don't have anything of note to complain about.  I lead a happy, if unspectacular, existence.  I'm comfortable.  With who I am, with my life, and with my place in this world.  I've come to realize that I'm not on this planet to end hunger or cure cancer.  I'm not here to save civilization.  But I believe that still means that I can make a positive impact on my little piece of the world.

I never had a gaping hole in my psyche for the lack of information about my biological parents.  I think part of that is nature - you're born needing that information or you're not - and part of it is nurture - my adoptive parents would certainly have supported any interest I had shown in tracking down that part of my history, and I never felt they valued my presence any differently or less because I was not their biological son.  I have two younger sisters, one of whom (the middle of the three of us) was also adopted, and the youngest of the three of us is the biological by-product of our parents.  My middle sister was born in Minnesota and put up for adoption by her birth parents.  She did have a desire to trace her biological history as far as she could and our parents were extremely supportive of this initiative.

Introspection has led me to truly believe that I harbor no ill-will towards my biological parents.  Their decision to put me up for adoption allowed me to lead this wonderful life.  Would I have met my wife and had my children if they hadn't put me up for adoption?  Obviously not.  You see what I mean?  But there is no doubt that seeing my kids triggered some reaction in me that suddenly I was interested in at least seeing Korea, where that interest did not previously exist.

Supporting this, the greater society in which I grew up never made me feel different or inferior due to my race.  I was never the victim of an overt display of racism.  In fact, the one time race was a major issue was when I used it to my advantage in applying to colleges as a non-caucasian.  Once, in high school, a friend who was also an adopted Korean, invited me to his Korean kids group meeting.  I distinctly remember feeling conscious of my race for arguably the first time, surrounded entirely by other Koreans.  For better or for worse, in my mind's eye I identify myself as either a-racial or at least no different than my caucasian family and friends.

A cursory search for information on Korean adoptees reveals a wealth of information on the topic.  Apparently the diaspora of Korean kids roughly between the 1955 and the 1990 was a big deal - it is estimated that over 200,000 Korean kids were adopted and brought west to the U.S (Haruch, 2014, para. 4).

Which got me thinking about my story and its relative uniqueness.  What are the main ingredients?  Korean, adoptee, hockey, winter Olympics.  Over the next year-and-a-half, I'm going to explore the Korean diaspora and its impact on America.  I'm also going to report on our plans to go to Korea, what we learn and what we're anticipating.  Then, I'm going to deliver a first-hand account of the experience of returning to your homeland as an adult and a parent.  All against the backdrop of the 2018 Olympics.  As a Minnesotan kid, hockey became my favorite sport, and still is today.  The journey of the Korean hockey program will also be a focal point of this year-and-a-half journey.

I don't know how this is going to unfold, but I am looking forward to the adventure.


Haruch, S. (2014).  "In Korea, Adoptees Fight To Change Culture That Sent Them Overseas."  NPR, para. 4.  Retrieved from: http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2014/09/09/346851939/in-korea-adoptees-fight-to-change-culture-that-sent-them-overseas

Sunday, October 4, 2015

10/4/15 5MM


We were missing Doubles tonight, but we still figured it out.

We ran down the conclusion of camp, and the pre-season, and the remaining intriguing roster questions.

Monday, September 28, 2015

5MM 09/27/15 With Giles Ferrell


We brought in the great Giles Ferrell from WildXtra on this episode.  Giles is host of the Giles and the Goalies podcast, and cranks out copy like you wouldn't believe on WX.

We discussed Paul Maurice, training camp stories, and broke down the TV teams for the Central division.

Monday, September 21, 2015

5MM Special Edition 9/20/15


The full 5MM crew was joined by a special guest tonight: Star-Tribune columnist Jim Souhan dropped by and spent an hour with us, giving us his perspective on the newspaper/sports writing business, how it has evolved, the difference between sports for a writer, his thoughts on the growing head injury epidemic in pro sports, and how digital and social media have changed the business.

It was an entertaining and enlightening discussion, with one of the most-visible figures in the Twin Cities sports scene.  Check it out here:

Monday, September 7, 2015

5MM Summer's Over Episode

by NiNY

Labor Day version, and the gang's all here.

We break down some training camp story lines that are nagging us.

Thursday, July 16, 2015



So, it's summer.  And we figured it might be interesting to do a battle of the podcasts with our brother WildXtra podcast, the famous Giles and the Goalies podcast.

The format is that both podcasts are going to discuss roughly the same topic, and we'll see what differences and similarities bubble up.

Give our version a listen here, and make sure you tune in to the GatG episode so you can compare and contrast.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

6/24/15 5MM - Draft Edition!


We discussed the Blackhawks reign, the draft, and the start of free agency.